Are Chemical Peels Harmful for the Skin?

For one reason or the other, everyone seems to be looking for a new face, or more correctly, a newer, younger-looking skin on their face, a skin that is even-toned, free from scars, wrinkles and imperfections, in fact, a skin that glows with youthfulness! However, all these come at the price of a chemical peel.

But chemical peels have been given a bad name with some patients even being afraid of them. The truth however is that, just like any other procedure, there are risks and benefits to this too; and when it’s performed by an experienced dermatologist, rest assured that the benefits far outweighs the risks.

If you happen to be living in Bangalore, you are in luck as Dr. Divya’s Skin & Hair Solutions Clinic in Marathahalli is the best place to go for safe and effective chemical peels. The renowned skin and hair specialist Dr. Divya Sharma provides unique chemical peeling treatments to her patients based on their skin type and the reason for the treatment. Her experience in this field will also help clear all your misconceptions about chemical peels being harmful!

Chemical peels use acid solutions to gently exfoliate the outer layers, by inducing controlled injury of the skin, after which the wound heals, crusts, scales and peels off over a few days. The new skin that grows is softer, smoother with fewer imperfections. The acids used include natural glycolic acid from sugarcane, salicylic acid from wintergreen, lactic acid from sour milk, etc, all of which are safe to use.

While mild and medium peels can be done in the doctor’s office, deep chemical peels require an anesthetic or sedatives and done in an aseptic environment. These days however, instead of going for deep peels, doctors usually offer laser treatment as they have fewer side-effects and lesser down-time. Deep peels are usually done to correct deep wrinkles and creases, uneven skin color or precancerous skin growths.

After a peel, the skin turns an angry red and swollen for a few days during which you are strongly advised to stay indoors during daylight hours; eventually the skin turns a brownish shade and peels off. The new skin is tender and will need to be protected from direct sunlight for a few days.

The various side-effects of chemical peeling include the following:

An angry skin

The skin may look red for a week or two after mild or medium skin peels and eventually clears up on its own.


In a very few rare cases, mild scarring may occur, typically in the lower half of the face; these can however be cleared up with steroids or antibiotics.

Hyper-pigmentation or hypo-pigmentation

In a few rare cases the skin can become darker (hyper-pigmentation) or lighter (hypo-pigmentation) after peeling is done.

Viral infections

 There can a flare-up of herpes virus in those who are carriers. A bacterial or fungal infection post-peeling is a highly unlikely event.

Basically, chemical peeling is a safe procedure when done by an experienced dermatologist under controlled conditions and shouldn’t be given a bad name- just because ‘chemicals’ are used!

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